Francisco Mahfuz - deVere Group
The deVere Group is the world’s largest, independent, financial consultancy. As part of its continuous expansion programme, deVere is now spreading its operations to Spain, with offices in Madrid, Barcelona, Marbella, Javea and Palma. Francisco Mahfuz, the Managing Partner of deVere Barcelona, tells us more about The deVere Group and the unique services that it offers to international clients.
Tells us about The deVere Group and what you do in Barcelona. deVere works primarily with expatriates who are living and working outside their country of residence, advising them in all areas of financial planning. Our typical client is an expat who is saving for later in life or for retirement; who is planning to send their children to university; who is trying to make their money work harder and perhaps more importantly, a client who is still dealing with a pension that is locked in the UK or somewhere else in Europe. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of pension advice. We came across expatriates who are simply not aware of the investment risk that comes with leaving pensions back in the UK, together with all the benefits that they (and their families) could enjoy by transferring their pension. We have all heard about the pension crisis across Europe, with the increasing retirement age yet decreasing retirement income.
How would you differentiate yourself and your company from anyone offering the same sort of service in Spain? It is important to stress the sort of company deVere is. At the moment we have over 50 offices globally which service clients in over 100 locations around the world. This affirms that wherever our client is in the world, we will be within easy reach to assist them and give them the support they need.
Our clients also benefit from the knowledge and negotiating power that comes with being a truly independent global player. When working with a bank or smaller company, a client is typically limited to whatever options they may offer, whilst deVere is now able to source unique financial products from major banks and financial institutions exclusively. Ultimately, this reflects our commitment to give our clients worldwide a service standard that is second to none. Other financial services we offer include advice on foreign exchange, insurance, wills and inheritance tax-planning.
What are the positive aspects of working here/what do you like about your job? Barcelona is a vibrant city that offers an incredible quality of life for people of all ages. Living in a place which is a dream holiday destination for many, can’t be a bad thing, right? I also enjoy being able to advise different clients from all walks of life about navigating through the complexities of their financial needs. It’s very rewarding when you can help someone plan for their children’s future, when you are sure that you have made a difference into how much better their situation will be later on because they received professional advice. It is also remarkable when I advise clients on their frozen pensions, as this is usually something that they have had in the back of their mind for years and never really knew how to go about resolving it.
What are the negative aspects? By far the most challenging aspect is reaching enough people so that our message is heard. Our job is to make people aware of how important it is to look after their finances properly, plan ahead and put enough money aside to meet all their goals later on in life. This is especially significant when seen in the light of the fact that we are currently looking at a generation that is struggling to make ends meet when they reach old age.